Tag Archives: parent
Many people tell victims of narcissistic abuse things like “You need to be the bigger person & let it go.” “You just don’t understand- she had a bad childhood!” “You just need to forgive & forget.” “The Bible says to honor your parents. If you call your mother/father out on their behavior, God doesn’t approve of that!” Such statements are often said for the following reasons…
- The person has come from an abusive past, & refuses to face the pain. You talking about it reminds that person of his or her pain. That person wants to shut you down so you stop making that person uncomfortable.
- The person knows the narcissist, & like all flying monkeys, is protective of that narcissist. If the narcissist is related to this person, this is a very likely scenario. Families are extremely protective of narcissists. You can see a post I wrote on the topic here: How Families Protect Their Narcissist
Whatever the reasons these ludicrous statements are said, they not only hurt, they confuse & frustrate victims. As if it’s not bad enough we’ve been abused by the narcissist, now other people are being abusive as well by invalidating our pain as well as judging & criticizing us for speaking up to the abuser.
There is a verse in Isaiah that can shut down the argument that a victim shouldn’t speak up:
Isaiah 1:16-17 “Wash yourselves, make yourselves clean; Put away the evil of your doings from before My eyes. Cease to do evil, Learn to do good; Seek justice, REBUKE THE OPPRESSOR; Defend the fatherless, Plead for the widow.” (NKJV) (emphasis added)
Notice the part in all caps. “Rebuke the oppressor.” God said that! I just capitalized it for emphasis. Pretty cool, huh? According to God, we are not only allowed to confront someone about abusive behavior- we are supposed to do it. Do you really think God would’ve included that in the Bible if He didn’t want people to do it? Also notice- it doesn’t say, “Rebuke the oppressor, unless the oppressor is a parent.” There are no exceptions in this verse!
Now I realize with narcissists, many times it’s easier to let them do something than confront them. They love turning things around where the victim is the blame or telling others how mean & unreasonable a victim is for not tolerating their abuse. It’s frustrating but such behaviors mean that sometimes we shouldn’t confront them. But, even so, there are times that we know in our hearts we need to speak up to them no matter what they do. During those times, you can rest assured you are doing the right thing. It’s even in the Bible, in the book of Isaiah!
If anyone judges or criticizes you for speaking up to the narcissist in your life, although it can be painful, try to ignore it. If God Himself has said we are to rebuke an oppressor, who is any mere human to tell you it’s the wrong thing to do? You do what you know that God would have you to do, even if that includes confronting a narcissist, & you do it secure in the knowledge God approves of what you’re doing.
Growing up with a narcissistic mother is incredibly painful. It causes a great deal of damage too, not only to one’s mental health but sometimes physical as well due to the intense, incredible stress of living with such a cruel person.
Unfortunately, the damage done is still with the child moving out of his or her mother’s home. While some of that damage is obvious, such as a person having C-PTSD, not all of it is so easily identified. There are many behaviors that tend to stick with a person even years after the abuse has ended.
Many victims accept the blame for everything. Growing up with a narcissist, you learn early in life that everything is your fault. If you had any doubts about that, your narcissistic mother would remind you of it. By adulthood, victims have lost all doubts & know everything is their fault.
Closely related is apologizing for everything. Children aren’t allowed to stand up for themselves, especially to their narcissistic mother. In fact, we don’t even have any clue how to stand up for ourselves. Instead, we learn to apologize, whether the problem is our fault or not. This behavior carries over into adulthood.
Narcissistic parents often compare their children unfavorably to their siblings or cousins. Those children grow up comparing themselves unfavorably to others just as their parent did rather than appreciating the differences in each person.
Children of narcissistic parents learned early in life that their purpose was to do for their parent. Children aren’t even thought of as human to their narcissistic parents, but instead they are merely tools to be used as needed by that parent. Knowing this means these children believe they aren’t important. They prioritize everyone else over themselves.
Along these lines, children of narcissistic parents also refuse to ask for help. They believe they are unworthy of help from anyone. Many are also perfectionists & think they should be able to do things by themselves, without any assistance.
Chronic self doubt is another problem narcissistic mothers create in their children. When you grow up hearing how you can’t do anything right, you’re a failure, you’re stupid or other cruel things, self doubt is normal. It can make you doubt every single thing about yourself, even into adulthood. Often it’s like there is a recording in the back of your mind when you try to do something that says those same awful things Mom used to say, & when you hear the recording, it transports you back to childhood, when you felt you were all of those things Mom said you were.
Difficulty making decisions happens often with adult children of narcissistic parents, too. When you suffer with self doubt, decisions can be really difficult to make! Even simple decisions like when your spouse asks where you want to go for dinner can be very challenging, because you feel like whatever you say will be wrong.
Over thinking is another common sign of having grown up with a narcissistic mother. It stems from having to be “on alert” at all times, needing to know what Mom wanted or how to please her or what exactly she needed at any time in order to avoid a narcissistic rage.
The lack of ability to express emotions is common with adult children of narcissistic mothers. So many narcissistic mothers did their best to stop their child from expressing any emotions, negative or positive. My mother used to scold me for having “that Bailey temper” that I learned never to show any anger or even simple frustration. It felt easier to stuff that emotion deep down than to be shamed. My mother also complained that I didn’t look happy, yet if I was happy, if it had nothing to do with her, she would shame me for being happy. Many narcissistic mothers behave in a similar way with their children.
Do you behave in any of these ways, Dear Reader? If so, please know you are NOT alone & you are NOT crazy. I’ve experienced them all, & still do experience some of them. I have found that praying really helps a great deal. I ask God for help or to show me what I can do to change my behavior. Simple? Sure, but also very effective.
I also question things. “Am I really to blame for this? Why?” “Should I apologize for that? Why or why not?” “Why am I comparing myself to that person instead of appreciating our uniqueness?” “Am I really not smart enough/talented enough/etc. to do that? What evidence do I have that shows me I’m not?” “Is it really unreasonable of me to ask my husband for help when I don’t feel good? Why?” These simple questions make me think about the situation at hand more objectively & I can see that sometimes what I’m thinking is nothing more than some old, dysfunctional mindset. Upon seeing that, I am able to act in a more appropriate way. If you have trouble doing this, another approach could be to imagine a friend came to you with the problem you’re facing now. What would you tell that friend? Imagining a friend is confiding in you rather than thinking about yourself facing the problem can give you a very different perspective.
Although these issues are challenging, they can be dealt with with time & work. Do it- you deserve to be rid of these dysfunctional habits!
My maternal grandmother was a narcissist. She neglected & abused my mother until she died. However, my grandmother didn’t limit her abuse to only my mother. She continued it with the next generation.
This scenario is very typical. I’m sure it happens with male narcissists too, but it seems to be more common with female ones, so we will discuss female narcissists in this post.
Rather than narcissistic mothers becoming loving grandmothers, they simply become narcissistic grandmothers. Sadly, many children of narcissistic mothers think the abuse they endured won’t happen to their children, but they couldn’t be more wrong.
Many people say that narcissists never change, but I disagree. The methods they use to abuse change & they often get even more vicious with their manipulation & criticisms. If they have grandchildren, they are simply new targets for their abuse rather than happy additions to the family.
Narcissistic grandmothers have zero trouble criticizing their children to their grandchildren. This not only can affect how your child sees you, but it also can affect your relationship with your child negatively & hurt your child. When I was quite young, my grandmother would tell me how lazy my mother was as a child & what a terrible person she was. It really hurt to hear her say those things, but she wouldn’t stop.
Not only will narcissistic grandmothers criticize their children to their grandchildren, but they also will criticize their children in front of their grandchildren. This hurts both the parent & child, & teaches the child that it’s perfectly acceptable to treat Mom &/or Dad like dirt. After all, Grannie Dearest does it, so it must be ok.
Since narcissists believe they always know best & boundaries aren’t for them, a narcissistic mother will run roughshod over her child’s rules with her grandchildren. If you don’t want your child to have a cookie nearer than an hour before dinner, you can guarantee that Grannie Dearest will give your child 18 cookies 10 minutes before dinner if she has the chance! As if this isn’t frustrating enough in & of itself to have your own mother break your rules, this also teaches your child that it’s ok to disobey Mom & her rules mean nothing.
Much of the dysfunction you grew up with at the hand of your narcissistic mother will continue with your children. If you had siblings, & all of you have children, your children will be treated much like you & your siblings were growing up. There will be a golden child & a scapegoat, & whichever you were, you can count on your child being in that role. In my mother’s family, her sister was the golden child & she was the scapegoat. While my grandmother was abusive to all of her grandchildren to some degree, I believe she saved the worst of her abuse for me.
If you have children & a narcissistic grandmother, it is your job as their parent to protect the children. Obviously, you don’t want her hurting your children like she’s hurt you! I believe the best place to start protecting them is to pray. Ask God for wisdom on how to handle the situation & how to best protect your children.
Also limit your children’s contact with your narcissistic mother as well as yours. The less contact anyone has with a narcissist, the better. Limited contact may evolve into no contact at some point. The less time spent around a narcissist, the clearer your thinking becomes concerning that person. You may realize no contact is best for you & your children when you hadn’t considered it an option before.
Make sure your children know that they can talk to you about anything & you won’t get mad. Help them to feel safe knowing that if Grannie Dearest says or does something that upsets them, they can tell you about it, you won’t be upset with them, & you will handle the situation.
Do not leave your children alone with their narcissistic grandmother. Make sure that you or your spouse or both of you are with them at all times in her presence. Not only will this help your children feel safer, chances are good that your narcissistic mother will behave better. Narcissists don’t like witnesses to their abuse, after all.
If you’re in this situation, I believe these tips can help you & your children. I wish you the absolute best! xoxo
While no contact is often the best solution for a person with narcissistic parents, sometimes it isn’t an option or at least isn’t an option in the near future. This post is for those of you in that position.
I understand how difficult it is to be in that situation. I wanted to sever ties with my parents for over a year before the timing felt right. I did learn some things during that time though, & I hope what I learned can help you.
I think it is a good idea first to get to the root of why no contact isn’t an option & eliminate the problem if at all possible. Are you financially dependent? Then try to find other means of supporting yourself. Are you afraid of being alone? It is better to be alone than to have abusive people in your life! God can send you new friends who genuinely love you & become like family. Are you afraid of what may happen if you go no contact such as relatives attacking you? I know that can be pretty intimidating, but think about it- what can they really do to you? If all they can do is tell you what a terrible person you are, that is something you can handle. After all, didn’t your narcissistic parents tell you that often growing up? My mother did. Although it bothered me when the flying monkeys told me the same things, I realized their words only upset me because they reminded me of when my own mother said worse to me. Once your own mother has called you horrific names, you develop a sort of armor to that verbal abuse. Do you somehow know that the timing isn’t right like I did? Then keep praying & follow God’s promptings. When the timing is right, you will know it & He will enable you to follow through with going no contact.
If you are unable to go no contact at this time but want to, then try for low contact. Limit your exposure to your narcissistic parent as much as possible. Don’t be available every time they call. Don’t visit or invite them to your home often. Follow your heart & deal with them only when you feel you are able to. I used to pray before answering my parents’ calls. I’d ask God if I should take it or not & if I felt His answer was yes, I’d ask Him to guide my words & enable me to handle the situation in the best possible way.
When you must deal with your narcissistic parents, there are some helpful skills you can use.
Always remember that your parents are narcissists. You aren’t dealing with normal, stable, healthy people. You can’t expect them to behave as such. Get rid of any expectations for them to behave normally or show love to you.
Also remember- with narcissists, everything boils down to how can they get narcissistic supply? You’re best off depriving them of that supply, but in ways that can’t trigger their narcissistic rage. To do this, the Gray Rock method is best.
I think of Gray Rock as becoming boring to narcissists. What interests them? Deprive them of that. In other words, don’t tell them personal information. In conversation, stick to superficial topics like the weather. If you’re out of ideas for superficial conversation, ask the narcissist about herself. They love talking about themselves, so you might as well make it work for you. In difficult situations, you can ask the narcissist about herself & that should divert the attention off of you since most narcissists can’t resist an opportunity to talk about themselves.
Always stay calm, cool & collected around your narcissistic parent. Narcissists see displays of emotions as weakness, which makes them attack their victim like a hungry lion attacks a weak gazelle. In their presence, show no emotion. Always be cold & emotionless.
Keep firm boundaries in place & offer no explanations for them. You can say NO without explaining yourself further. If your narcissistic parent demands to know why you say no, change the subject. If your narcissistic parent hints at wanting to know, ignore the hints.
Keep learning all you can about Narcissistic Personality Disorder. It will help you to keep a healthy perspective of your situation. It will help you not to take your parents’ abuse so personally & it will help you to figure out effective ways of dealing with them.
And, never forget to pray often & talk to your safe, supportive friends who understand your situation. A good support network is extremely important in these situations. Avoid people who tell you what to do. People who don’t understand why you won’t go no contact or think no contact is wrong are not people you need to deal with, especially as you are trying to go no contact.
Recently I was thinking of something. Maybe some of you remember last December, just before Christmas, my mother had her attorney/flying monkey send me a letter asking if I wanted my father’s car. (here is the post if you missed it: Coping When Narcissists Hit A New Low)
I thought about the letter the other day, & the wording of it all. At that time, I felt a lot of guilt even though I knew with every fiber of my being I needed to maintain strict no contact with her. It was such a difficult time! I also thought about the fact my mother wanted my help with what she was dealing with after my father’s death. She expected me to help her, after everything she’s done to me, & there has been a LOT! Just throwing out a couple of examples…
- My mother threw me into a wall when I was 19 hard enough to give me back pain for 10 years. Why? Because she started a fight with me & got mad when I eventually snapped & cussed at her. She never apologized or even admitted to any of her part in that incident. She also told people I faked the back pain so I could quit working because I was lazy.
- My mother stole the savings bonds her mother left me when she died in 2001. I had to go after her with proof of what the inheritance was worth & copies of the cashed bonds to get it back. When she sent me a check, I saw she wrote in the memo line, “What you claim Grandma owes you.”
- Most recently, in 2016.. my mother in-law died. I hadn’t spoken to her since 2002 because she was so cruel to me. My parents knew this. When my parents learned of her passing, they called me & were mad I didn’t tell them in time to attend the funeral & “pay their respects.” I was stunned that was an option. I expected them to tell me what a great woman she was, even though they only spoke to her twice in their lives. I ended up so hurt & angry that I cried & cussed at my parents, which is not my normal behavior. The more upset I got, the more bored my mother acted. She then tried getting me to feel sorry for her because she has vertigo. It didn’t work. We haven’t spoken since.
These are only a few examples. I have a LOT more.
So anyway, I was thinking of these things & others, & it hit me. My mother has a LOT of nerve thinking she is entitled to my help after not only doing all of these things, but also not once accepting any responsibility or apologizing for any of the abuse she’s inflicted on me. She is still the same abusive monster she was when I was a kid. Her tactics may be different now, but she is still out to hurt & control me as much as possible if given the chance. This quickly got rid of any guilt I felt regarding her.
My point (finally, I know.. sorry!) is this….
If you are struggling with feeling guilty regarding your narcissistic parent, for being no contact or feel like now that your parent is elderly & frail, you should take care of her even if you haven’t spoken in years, I really suggest doing what I did.
Consider your relationship with your narcissistic parent. Think about the things your parent did to you. Has your parent shown any signs of improving their behavior? Has she admitted any wrongdoing at all? If your parent is like most narcissists, you honestly can say no to those questions. And, if you can say no to those questions, then you need to maintain distance to protect yourself & your mental health.
If you’re still feeling any guilt at this point, also remember- people reap what they sow. Galatians 6:7 says:
“Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. ” (KJV)
A person who sows bad seeds will reap a bad harvest, period. This means that an abusive parent will not be treated with love & kindness indefinitely as a good parent would be treated. A person can only take so much before they pull away from their abuser, even if that abuser is their parent. It’s the natural way of things. You aren’t being petty, childish or any other awful thing people may say you are by putting distance between you & your narcissistic parent. You’re simply a part of the normal system of reaping & sowing.
Lastly, you are NOT dishonoring your abusive parent with either low or no contact. By maintaining low or no contact, you are removing the opportunity for your parent to sin. Your parent can’t abuse you if you aren’t there. You’re also encouraging her to improve her behavior by giving her consequences for her actions. That is very honorable & loving! Anyone who tells you that you’re not honoring your narcissistic parent or thinks it’s honorable to tolerate anything your parent dishes out truly does NOT know God or understand His word at all.
So remember, Dear Reader… you have no valid reasons to feel guilty regarding your narcissistic parent, but if you do feel guilty, remind yourself of what your parent has done to you like I did.
Have you ever wondered why people so incredibly self centered as narcissists have children? I have. God showed me a couple of reasons why my parents had me, but I’ve also wondered about narcissists in general, not only my parents, have kids. I think I have figured out some of their “logic”, if you can call it that.
The narcissist who was abused or neglected as a child often has a root of shame, I believe, which is why they work so hard to convince people they are so wonderful, amazing, etc. They’re also trying to convince themselves that they are so wonderful, amazing, etc. By becoming a parent, this proves to themselves & everyone else that someone found them desirable. Someone took this big step with them, so they must be pretty fantastic, right?!
If the narcissist grew up feeling or being told she was abnormal somehow, having a child can be a way to prove to the world that she is normal. Having children is a perfectly normal step for many people, so if she can have a child, it proves to her & other people that she must be normal.
Children are also made to make their narcissistic parent look good, & we know all narcissists are obsessed with appearances. If the narcissistic parent can mold their child into whatever she wants the child to be, that parent can then take credit for the child’s talents, successes, good looks or anything. And, if this child is perfect, he or she will prove to the narcissistic parent that her abusive parents were wrong about her, that she really isn’t bad or unlovable as her parents told her she was.
This “perfect” child also can gain the narcissistic parent attention for being such a wonderful parent as to raise this perfect little human being. People notice exceptional children, so as long as this child is perfect, the narcissistic parent will lap up all of the praise & admiration she receives for her amazing parenting skills. What the narcissistic parent fails to realize is that no child is perfect, & expecting the child to be is putting a tremendous amount of pressure on the child. Trying to meet impossibly high standards creates a great amount of anxiety in anyone, but especially a child who just wants his or her parent’s love.
Often, if two narcissists have children together, one will take the main role in raising the child. That parent gets to enjoy being in control in this capacity as well as looking self-sacrificing & martyr like by doing everything all by herself with virtually no help from the other parent.
Because children need their parents, this also feeds the narcissistic parent’s narcissism. They rely on their child’s dependency because it makes them feel valuable & good to be needed. They don’t take into consideration that at some point, that child is going to grow up & move on. It’s as if that thought isn’t even a possibility to the narcissistic parent, so when that happens, they feel betrayed by their child. How dare that child do something normal by growing up! Doesn’t the child know that their role is to stay a child as long as the parent wants?!
Some parents also have children because they foolishly believe that will repair their relationship or force the partner to stay with them so they can raise the child together. They mistakenly believe that if they have a child together, their partner will start treating them right or love them more, when nothing could be further from the truth.
Along those lines, the narcissist who was abused as a child may think that having a baby will fix her relationship with her abusive parents. She may think no grandparent couldn’t love their grandchild, so if she gives her parents a grandchild, she finally may have her parents’ love.
There are countless reasons people want to start a family, but when it comes to narcissists, you can be sure all of their reasons will be unhealthy. They will be entirely self-serving to the narcissist, & the child will suffer because of it.
The past two weeks has been quite overwhelming.
Tuesday, June 12, my husband’s father fell in his home. Hubby took him to the hospital, & they decided to keep him. Upsetting of course, but not entirely unusual considering his age. Saturday, June 16, my husband was told his father only had a couple of days left to live. Friday, June 22, his father died.
Out of protecting my husband’s & his father’s privacy, I don’t want to reveal more details than that about the situation, so pardon me for being vague.
The situation got me thinking & I decided to share those thoughts.
First & foremost, this situation was just another reminder of how quickly life can change. When hubby took his father to the emergency room, he had no clue that only 11 days later, his father would die. Never take anyone you love for granted! Enjoy every moment you can with them. Never forget that things can change quickly, so tell them & show them often that you love them. I make it a point to tell people I love them as the last thing before hanging up the phone or leaving their company.
Don’t forget to enjoy your life as much as possible. Don’t settle for working a job you hate longer than absolutely necessary or continuing a relationship that is making you miserable. Do things that make you happy & avoid things that don’t as much as humanly possible. Travel, dance, write poetry, paint or participate in hobbies you love. Do whatever benefits your peace & joy. No one knows how long we have to live so why not enjoy every moment possible?
If you’re an animal lover, rely on your furbabies to help you in tough times. Animals do love us & want to help if they can. Just before my husband called to tell me about his dad, I saw two of my cats looking rather adorable & decided to take their pictures. He called just as I took the last picture. Later when I put the pictures on my computer, I noticed how sad my cats looked in those pictures, which is highly unusual for them. I really believe they knew what was going on. And, when my husband got home, they proved it. The cats haven’t left him alone since he got home that night. They’re doing their best to make him feel loved & comforted, & it’s a great help to him!
I also realized that once you’ve lost a narcissistic parent, death can be triggering. This is the first person we’ve lost since my father died last October. I feel like emotionally speaking, this situation has sent me back to last year. It’s an emotional flashback of sorts, I think. I assume this is happening because my father died not all that long ago & I haven’t been able to heal from that awful time yet. I’m not telling my husband about this because he doesn’t need any further burdens right now of course, but my word, this is a challenge & one I never expected.
If you too have experienced the death of a narcissistic parent, Dear Reader, I think you need to know this kind of thing can happen to you too. Even if the person who passes on is someone you aren’t particularly close to or not a person in a parental type role, I think it’s possible it can happen to you too, so just be prepared.
So, that’s what has been happening recently. I figured I’d let everyone know & I hope the thoughts I had help you. xoxo
I recently read an article about Father’s Day. In it, the author gave valid reasons why we should honor our fathers. It was a very good article, but one thing about it bothered me- the author didn’t mention how exactly to honor our fathers. I thought I would discuss it here. Actually, I’ll refer to honoring parents, not only fathers.
When you have good & loving parents, you don’t have to have strict boundaries. Your parents respect them naturally, so boundaries aren’t a concern. However, with narcissistic parents, you have to have & enforce very strict boundaries. This is very honorable, because these boundaries encourage your parent to behave in a healthier manner.
When Mother’s Day or Father’s Day comes around, if you have good parents, you can be a blessing to them, enjoy yourself & have zero fear of repercussions. You can spend time with them, give them nice cards & gifts. Narcissistic parents? No. Doing those things for your narcissistic parents basically tells them their abuse is OK. You’ll show them love no matter how awfully they treat you. This is why it’s important to give more minimal gifts & rather neutral cards- you are recognizing them as your parents but at the same time, you’re not praising them for their great parenting skills. You never want to reward bad behavior!
Even going no contact can be very honorable when it comes to abusive parents. While many people think that no contact is dishonorable, it really isn’t. By severing ties, you are removing the opportunity for an abusive person to abuse you & commit sinful acts. You are also encouraging that person to change their behavior for the better, because you won’t have them in your life if they are abusive. You’re also removing the temptation from yourself of going off on the abuser.
Dear Reader, there is never, EVER anything honorable about tolerating abuse, & that includes tolerating it from parents. If you still have doubts, read this…
Psalm 101:5 (AMP)
“Whoever secretly slanders his neighbor, him I will silence;
The one who has a haughty look and a proud (arrogant) heart I will not tolerate.”
This verse tells me that God has no patience for narcissism. Since as His children we are called to be like Him (Ephesians 5:1-2; 1 Thessalonians 2:4), then we should have no patience for narcissism either, no matter who that narcissist is! If people disapprove of your refusal to tolerate your narcissistic parent’s abuse, well, that is their problem. Your job is to live a life that pleases God, not man…
“Thus saith the LORD; Cursed [be] the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the LORD.” (KJV)
Some very naive people think that being a Christian means some pretty awful things. One of those awful things is that as a Christian, you are to tolerate any & all abuse because calling people out on it is “un-Christian” or unloving. These ingenuous people actually think that removing yourself from an abuser’s life isn’t Godly behavior, especially if that abuser is a parent. It’s much better to allow that person to abuse you indefinitely! After all, the Bible says you should honor your parents, & it’s honorable to tolerate anything they dish out!
I am certainly not claiming to have all the answers to all things Christian. I am well aware that I don’t. But, I have been a Christian for 22 years now & have learned a few things.
Being a Christian doesn’t mean you are better than other people or that you’re perfect. Far from it. If we were perfect, we wouldn’t need Jesus. And, just because we have Him in our lives & hearts doesn’t mean we’re perfect. No matter how perfect an artist may be, if the canvas is flawed, even the greatest artist can’t paint a perfect picture on a flawed canvas.
Another important thing I have learned is that being a Christian also means we need to love God’s way, which is very different from loving people’s way. God’s love wants what is best, not what is easiest. Confronting abusers is best because it encourages them to make appropriate changes in their behavior. Granted with narcissists, the chances of them making positive changes is very slim. However, it is not your place to force them to change. It is your place to encourage them to change, which is much different than forcing someone to change.
But it’s certainly NOT easy! Tolerating bad behavior & even abuse is much easier than standing up to someone about their behavior. As painful as tolerating abuse is, at least you won’t lose your friends & family so long as you tolerate it. Once you stand up to an abuser, chances are excellent that you will lose people you love. They will call you unreasonable, unloving, cruel, abusive, a bad son/daughter/friend/etc. & yes, even attack your faith by saying you aren’t a real Christian or are a bad one. People who stand up to abusers find out quickly who really loves them & who doesn’t.
I believe many people, Christian or not, have misinterpreted the Bible when it comes to love. Yes, love is patient & kind & other wonderful things. However, love also must be tough sometimes. God proves that! He doesn’t let His people get away with any old kind of behavior. He lets us suffer consequences of bad actions or be blessed with good actions. As His children, we are supposed to behave like God- Matthew 5:48 “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.” (KJV)
Dear Reader, if your faith has been judged & criticized because you have removed an abuser from your life, you are most certainly not alone. Many people have been, including me. When this happens, I try to remember Matthew 5:11-12: “Blessed [morally courageous and spiritually alive with life-joy in God’s goodness] are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil things against you because of [your association with] Me. 12 Be glad and exceedingly joyful, for your reward in heaven is great [absolutely inexhaustible]; for in this same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” (AMP) As painful as it is when people side with your abuser over you, & even shame you for no longer tolerating abuse, it can bring comfort when you remember God is all too aware of what is being said to & about you. He will reward you one day! Those who said such cruel things however?? Well, let’s just say I wouldn’t want to be in their shoes…
2 Thessalonians 1:8 “dealing out [full and complete] vengeance to those who do not [seek to] know God and to those who ignore and refuse to obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus [by choosing not to respond to Him].” (AMP)
Romans 12:19 “Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave the way open for God’s wrath [and His judicial righteousness]; for it is written [in Scripture], “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord.” (AMP)
I get a wonderful daily email from Bible Gateway- Psalms in a month. This was in today’s email, & I couldn’t help but think of narcissists.
Psalm 101:5 (AMP)
“Whoever secretly slanders his neighbor, him I will silence;
The one who has a haughty look and a proud (arrogant) heart I will not tolerate.”
Soooooo… if God Himself has absolutely no tolerance for this type of behavior, why do people think victims should tolerate it? How is it being a “good Christian” to tolerate this sort of abuse?
It seems to me that people who believe those of us who have gone no contact or at the very least refuse to tolerate a narcissist’s abuse by giving them boundaries & consequences are putting people & their wishes above God. What they think should happen is obviously more important to them than what the Bible says. If the narcissist in question is family, they’re also putting the institution of family above God.
If you think that I’m just overreacting, consider the following from the Gospel of Matthew…
Matthew 10:34-37 (MSG) (emphasis added)
“Don’t think I’ve come to make life cozy. I’ve come to cut—make a sharp knife-cut between son and father, daughter and mother, bride and mother-in-law—cut through these cozy domestic arrangements and free you for God. Well-meaning family members can be your worst enemies. If you prefer father or mother over me, you don’t deserve me. If you prefer son or daughter over me, you don’t deserve me.”
Reread the part I underlined. “Well-meaning family members can be your worst enemies. If you prefer father or mother over me, you don’t deserve me. If you prefer son or daughter over me, you don’t deserve me.” That’s pretty clear, don’t you think? God should come first in your life, NOT other people, no matter who those people are!
For those of you who have been on the same boat as me with being condemned for being a bad person &/or bad Christian for not tolerating abuse from the narcissist in your life, please remember what the Bible has to say. God doesn’t think you’re a terrible person because you refuse to allow some horrible person to abuse you. He has called you to be like Him, not to please people, & if other people have a problem with that, well, that isn’t your problem- it’s theirs.
Ephesians 5:1-2 (AMP)
“Therefore become imitators of God [copy Him and follow His example], as well-beloved children [imitate their father]; 2 and walk continually in love [that is, value one another—practice empathy and compassion, unselfishly seeking the best for others], just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and sacrifice to God [slain for you, so that it became] a sweet fragrance.”
1 Thessalonians 2:4 (AMP)
“But just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel [that tells the good news of salvation through faith in Christ], so we speak, not as [if we were trying] to please people [to gain power and popularity], but to please God who examines our hearts [expecting our best].”
The last couple of days have been difficult for me. Lots of flashbacks & anxiety have been happening. When I said something to my husband about it the day before Mother’s day, he said “Mother’s Day is coming.. that has to be it!” Honestly I don’t know if that’s my problem or not, it sure could be, but anyway….
Part of one of my recent flashbacks was about when I was learning to drive. I told hubby that my ex mother in-law taught me more about driving (including driving a stick shift) than my parents did, yet both of my parents always took credit for teaching me how to drive even though they barely taught me anything. He said, “I think you should give your ex mother in-law a shout out! She did a lot of good things for you.”
Although my ex mother in-law died in 2010 & this post is going to publish a day after Mother’s Day, I agree. I also thought about another mom figure in my life who was so special to me, so I’m giving her a shout out too. I pray God allows them to know about this because they both deserve to know the big positive impacts they had on my life.
A very big thank you to my awesome ex mother in-law!! I appreciate the many things you taught me like how to drive & especially how to knit. I appreciate the encouragement you gave me when I was learning things & your faith that I could do these things. I also appreciate the fun times together, like going to craft & thrift stores, & your help picking out my first sewing machine. (Even though I still can’t sew, I appreciate a nice machine like that little beauty!) I appreciate all the laughs & your fun sense of humor, especially since it was pretty twisted like my own. I appreciate your love, support & lack of judgement. I also appreciate you trying to protect me from my mother when we lived together. I wasn’t used to anyone doing that & it was a very nice surprise.
Most of all, a big thank you for being a wonderful example of your faith & praying for me.
I’m sorry our relationship ended on a bad note & for the things I did wrong. I still remember the good things often & am so grateful for them. Thank you for everything, W. You’re very loved & missed. xoxo
My other mother figure was a dear friend I called my adopted mom. We met on a crochet message board & clicked. She was a wise, beautiful, gentle, loving, compassionate person with a powerful & inspiring faith. When I had an argument with my folks or just a rough day, she was the one I wanted to talk to. She always knew what to say to make me feel better. She also didn’t sugarcoat things- if she believed I was wrong, she’d tell me. She was free with her praise & kind words, but still told the truth even if it wasn’t pretty. She was also the one who got me started reading about Antisocial Personality Disorder which led to me learning about narcissism. We had many laughs together, mostly talking about our furkids who we both adored. She was an inspiration & one of the most wonderful people I’ve ever had the privilege of knowing. Her death in 2009 still hurts, but I know I’ll see her again one day. Thank you for the years of friendship, love & laughs, K! xoxo
Those of us with narcissistic mothers know that a good mother is a beautiful gift. If you have a wonderful mother figure in your life, please don’t wait til it’s too late like I did- let her know how much you appreciate her now. She’ll love to hear what you say & it’ll make you feel good to tell her just how special she is to you.
Two years ago yesterday was a big argument with my parents. The biggest ever. That’s saying something because there have been some very ugly fights over the years.
I knew something ugly was brewing. My husband’s mom died 5 days prior, & he’d warned me there was an obituary in the local paper that my parents read religiously. I knew they would call about it, & I figured it’d be something like, “she was such a lovely woman” & other nonsense. My parents knew perfectly well that I hadn’t spoken to her since 2002. I’d told them that she was cruel to me (a covert narcissist), & they only met her twice. I didn’t think her death would be of any major concern to them. Comments praising her supposed sainthood were expected, & that was it. I did NOT expect the huge blow up it turned into. In fact, I’d prayed when I saw my parents’ number on my caller ID, asking God to help me behave & not blow up. That didn’t happen.. I blew. I blew big time. When both of my parents made it clear that they were mad at me for not telling them she died so they could go “pay their respects”, I blew. I felt betrayed by that, & by the fact they didn’t understand why I felt betrayed. I spelled out my feelings & they didn’t get it. (I don’t know why I even wasted my breath doing that when I know better.) I remember each of my parents defending themselves, & I kept saying things like “you know how she treated me”. They responded the same.. “But that’s Eric’s MOTHER!” I always responded with, “But I’m YOUR DAUGHTER!” Nothing. They said absolutely nothing in return to that, as if that fact was unimportant & the only thing that mattered was that this person was my husband’s mother.
What was odd is after I hung up & was praying, I knew God wanted my parents to see me that angry. I started out saying I was sorry for how I acted. I’d yelled at & cussed at my parents! That was awful & I was so sorry for not letting God lead my behavior. He said it’s ok- they needed to see their normally calm, reasonable daughter livid because of what they did (I’m still not sure why exactly). This argument also opened the door for no contact. I finally felt the time was right after wanting to do it for over a year & knowing in my heart the timing wasn’t right. My mother gave me the silent treatment anyway for standing up to her, so that was easy. My father was tougher since he always demanded I talk to him whenever he wanted, no matter what I had going on.
It’s strange the way things worked out for the best in spite of how much that incident hurt me. Good came from it! It taught me to trust God more, since He clearly helped me that night to accomplish what needed to be done. He truly knows best & it’s amazing how He guides you when you let Him. It also helped me to realize I can stand up for myself, which is something I never felt well equipped to do.
I guess my point in sharing this, Dear Reader, is you really can trust God to enable you to do whatever you need to do, & that includes standing up to narcissist. I know, that is incredibly difficult to do. But, it’s also very possible. Trust Him- He won’t lead you wrong! He’ll give you the words you need to say as you need them. He’ll give you strength & courage. He’ll help you to be quiet when the timing is wrong for standing up to them & help you when the timing is right. God is truly a loving, caring Father. He always has your back! xoxo
One especially devious, creative ways narcissists abuse their victims is cementing facts in their brains. What I mean is, a narcissist can imply something once, then reinforce what they said by their actions instead of words. The result is you feel a certain way, & if you say anything to the narcissist, they will say they don’t know what you’re talking about or deny that they ever said anything in the first place.
As one example from my life, I have a terrible time admitting when I don’t feel well, taking time to recover or asking for help. I feel like I need to be OK at all times so I don’t upset anyone or burden anyone by asking them for help. I even question myself, wondering if I really have whatever problem I am dealing with at the time, even when my symptoms are glaringly obvious.
Do you have some false belief cemented in your mind too? If so, you’re not alone! This sort of thing happens all the time to children of narcissistic parents. There are some ways to cope.
As always, I recommend praying as the first step. Ask God for wisdom, to help you heal & anything else you can think of.
When it comes to healing, I firmly believe in getting to the root of the problem. It’s the most effective way to resolve the problem permanently. To do this, try to remember the earliest time in your life when you felt a certain way, & then deal with it from there. To explain it, I’ll tell you what I did.
When considering how hard a time I’ve had admitting I have health problems, I thought back over my life, present to past, during times I was sick or injured. I remembered many, many times when my mother didn’t believe I had a health problem unless it was something very obvious, like a bad case of the flu. As a child, she complained when she had to take care of me when I was sick. When I was only 5 years old, my mother woke me up one morning by tickling me. In trying to get away from her, I slipped & hit my head on the big wooden headboard. Long story short, the result was a trip to the ER & several stitches in my scalp. Afterward, my mother took me to the mall & bought me a coloring book & crayons, something she complained about buying for years. During the experience, my mother didn’t comfort me. She was upset & I felt completely responsible for that.
These experiences taught me that I shouldn’t burden anyone with my health concerns, I should be “ok” at all times so as not to upset anyone & my problems aren’t important.
To undo this warped thinking, I found it very helpful to look at things very logically, ignoring feelings for the moment. Here are some things I came up with:
- Why did my mother take me to the mall after a trip to the hospital?! I had a head injury! I should’ve been home, resting quietly. She could’ve called my father & asked him to pick up the coloring book & crayons on his way home from work, or asked a friend or neighbor to do it.
- My mother should never have complained to me about how hard that incident was for her or having to take care of me when I was sick. That is what parents do. It’s a part of the job.
- Why has my mother not believed me or blamed me about health issues as an adult? Since narcissists love projection, it makes me think it’s because she has either exaggerated or even faked her own health problems & thinks other people do the same
I can’t honestly say that I’m 100% ok now. I can say though, that since thinking about these things, I’ve already gotten better at admitting when I don’t feel well. I haven’t needed to ask anyone for help yet, but I am certain that will be easier too. It seems to me that when you face things, they lose much of their power over you. When you examine them & realize how wrong they were, they lose even more power.
What false beliefs are cemented in your mind? I would like to encourage you today to face them. No, it isn’t easy, but it is possible. The things I mentioned earlier did hurt me when I first thought about them, & made me angry. However, I’m still glad I did because that enabled me to remove the false beliefs I’ve carried around my entire life & replace them with healthier beliefs. I firmly believe the same thing can happen to you!
Although the title of this post may sound like common sense, it may not be to everyone. Or, you may logically understand that yet still don’t feel you have the right to go no contact with the narcissist in your life. Narcissists are very good at destroying how you think, even making you feel you have to have that abuser in your life. (God forbid you think in a healthy way! You’re so much easier to manipulate if you are dysfunctional!)
I just want to remind you today, Dear Reader, that you absolutely have the right to protect yourself. You have the right to set healthy boundaries & expect them to be respected. You have the right to enforce consequences when they aren’t respected. You have the right to expect to be treated with civility & basic respect. And yes, you have the right to end an abusive relationship. It doesn’t matter if that abuser is a friend, significant other, sibling or even a parent. No one has the right to abuse you! NO ONE!
I understand that many people who read my blog are in situations where they are unable to end their abusive relationship for various reasons. I certainly am not trying to make you feel bad for your position!! Everyone’s situation is different. But, of all the reasons to stay in such a relationship, the false belief that one doesn’t have the right to end it should not be one of those reasons!
After years of being in all kinds of relationships with narcissists (family, friendship & romantic), I realize I’m different than your average woman. This happens to victims of narcissists. Even once we realize what has happened to us, we’re different because of the experience. Trauma has a way of changing a person.
Those changes can be for the better, such as when we are able to recognize abusive people quickly & set boundaries with them. The changes also can be for the worse. Sometimes dealing with those closest to us, especially our spouses, can be difficult even when it shouldn’t be simply because of our past experiences. I am hoping this post will help victims & their partners to understand what is happening so they can work through the problems together.
Victims are taught not to have needs & feelings & if they express any, narcissists shame them for having them. This can make it incredibly difficult to open up to anyone, even someone we love who isn’t a narcissist. First, a victim feels wrong & ashamed for feeling or needing whatever they do. Then that person is terrified of being shamed or invalidated for having them. Even if someone has been nothing but kind to a victim, the victim still can fear that person’s disapproval or rejection. If your partner is that way, please don’t take it personally. It isn’t your fault! It’s a side effect of narcissistic abuse. Please just be patient. Listen without offering advice unless you are asked for it. If you don’t understand something, ask questions without sounding judgmental.
Being overly negative happens sometimes too. Partner, it’s not your fault! Healing from narcissistic abuse is a long, arduous, painful journey. Sometimes it gets to be too much. It feels like everything is bad, even when it truly isn’t. It can be very easy for a victim to get mired down in negativity. Please do NOT tell this person to cheer up, others have it worse or get mad. That will only add to the negative mindset. Maybe suggest going out to dinner or to the park- some small gesture to distract the victim could be helpful. Make your loved one feel loved & safe. Let her know she can talk to you if she wants to, but doesn’t need to if she doesn’t want to.
Along the lines of being very negative is making small things a big deal. When you feel overwhelmed in trying to heal, or if you have C-PTSD or PTSD like so many victims of narcissistic abuse, sometimes you feel you can’t handle one more thing. Then when that one more thing comes along, it’s too much & you blow up. Even something as simple as misplacing a pen can push you over the edge & you snap at your spouse who had nothing to do with the missing pen. If this is happening, try suggesting some down time to your spouse. Suggest lunch out with a good friend, or you both go somewhere you enjoy like the movies. Even a brief reprieve can be helpful in regaining a better perspective.
Many victims project the image of not needing their partner. People who grew up with narcissistic parents had to be very self reliant. It became a way of life. Even if a victim has shed that behavior, if there is any issue in the victim’s marriage, self preservation kicks in & this behavior comes to the surface. As the person who sees this behavior, let it be a sign to you that something is wrong in your marriage. Try to figure it out. Ask your spouse if everything is OK & be reassuring of your love.
Emotional withdraw is common too. Suddenly, those little nice things your mate did for you stop or seem to be a burden to do. Maybe your mate is too tired for sex when that was never an issue before. This is a sign something is wrong. Try doing nice gestures like bringing home your partner’s favorite coffee or a new book, CD or DVD. Little gestures like that can be reassuring & may make your spouse feel more willing to open up to you.
Being married to someone who has survived narcissistic abuse can be challenging, but it doesn’t have to be impossible. A little love, compassion & understanding can go a long way.
Anyone who has made the decision to go no contact has no doubt thought about resuming that relationship at some point. This is especially common when a person ends a familial relationship.
I really think this is because God made people to need relationships, in particular those with our families. Ending a familial relationship is abnormal, no matter how valid the reasons. It goes against nature so it’s very painful to do & also to live with. As a result, it’s only natural to reconsider the decision to go no contact with family. When parents are involved, that decision is doubted even more often.
If you’re reconsidering your decision to go no contact, first of all, please know you aren’t abnormal, a glutton for punishment or anything else bad you may be feeling right now. You’re normal. In spite of the tremendous amount of prayer & consideration that goes into going no contact, I seriously don’t think there is one person who doesn’t have doubts about it at some point. I certainly haven’t talked with anyone who hasn’t doubted their choice. I can honestly say every single person has, including myself.
If you end a relationship with a family member, chances are slim that person will be out of your life entirely. You may see each other at family parties, reunions, weddings & even funerals. Even if you haven’t spoken to each other in a long time, you still share relatives & they will mention that person at some point. They may mention what is new in that person’s life or that they saw that person recently. If that person develops health problems, you are guaranteed to hear all about it, whether you want to or not.
When you see that person after a long time or when a mutual friend or relative mentions that person is having health problems, those are likely times for you to consider reconnecting. Before you do that, please pray & think long & hard before you do anything.
When you pray about it, listen to what God has to say. He probably won’t give direct orders by saying, “Thus sayeth the Lord….” Instead, you may feel a “knowing” about what you need to do. Listen to that! I firmly believe those “knowings” are from God.
Think long & hard about what this person you’re considering reconnecting with is doing. When your mutual friend or relative talks about that person, do you see old familiar patterns in that person’s behavior? Is that person still controlling? Critical? Abusive? If so, reconnecting is a terrible idea!
Another thing to watch for- if that person has told someone to tell you that they are sorry, do that person’s actions back up the words? Has the person accepted responsibility for their abusive actions? Did she mention specific acts that she was apologizing for or did she say non apologies like “I’m sorry you feel I was mean to you” or “I’m sorry for whatever it is you think I did wrong”? Non apologies are NOT real apologies! They are said to lure you back into the relationship thinking all is OK now.
Also watch the person’s behavior. Does that person respect the fact you wish to stay no contact or try to contact you even years later? Safe people don’t like when someone ends a relationship with them, but they at least respect that person’s decision. They don’t inundate them with phone calls, texts, emails, posts on social media, etc. They stay out of the life of the person who ended contact with them. Unsafe people are much different. If they don’t want to end a relationship, they will fight hard not to let it end. They often harass, stalk, & bully. My mother & I stopped speaking to each other in 2016, & all was fine.. until my father was dying in October, 2017. Suddenly she called & sent me notes in the mail often & the flying monkeys attacked me constantly. Two months to the day after he died, & also two days before Christmas, I received a letter from her lawyer in the mail trying to force me to talk to her. This behavior shows me that nothing has changed with her. She still believes what she wants is what matters.
So Dear Reader, if you are considering ending no contact with someone, then please consider what I said. Pay attention to what you hear & observe about the person before allowing that person back into your life. And most of all pray! God will NOT lead you wrong!
As anyone with experience with a narcissist knows, they accept no blame for anything they have done. Ever. You can confront them about something terrible they have done, then later walk away wondering why you just apologized to them instead of them apologizing to you. This post will help you identify some of the common blame shifting behaviors so you won’t fall for them in the future.
Probably the most common thing that narcissists do to shift the blame is to play the victim. This is especially common with covert narcissists, but overt ones will do it as well. The narcissist will turn your legitimate concern around in such a way that you feel as if you’re being too hard on that person, overreacting or being too sensitive. After all, they never had any idea that what they said or did would hurt you, they say. Or, they may bring up some (probably imaginary) thing you did in the past, claiming that is abusive, & turning the topic of the conversation to that incident rather than your topic.
Closely related to playing the victim is the guilt trip done to shift blame. They may tell you about something painful that they experienced in their childhood or say things like, “Why are you yelling at me? I didn’t mean to hurt you!” Before you know it, you’re comforting them even though they hurt you!
They often accuse their victims of bad or even abusive behavior, but especially during the times when they are confronted. This is an effective way to shift the blame from the narcissist to the victim. My mother did this to me when I was growing up. She said I made her do something bad to me because of how terrible I was acting. On my seventeenth birthday, she destroyed my gifts that my now ex husband gave me, then made me clean up the mess she made. She said because I was “acting so snotty”, which is what made her destroy those gifts. The truth was when I took the gifts from school to her car at the end of my day, I was terrified what she was going to do to me because she hated my ex, & was quiet. I wasn’t “acting snotty”- I was acting terrified!
Narcissists also minimize the feelings of their victims to shift blame to the victim. Basically, this shifts the blame to the victim for how they responded to the abuse rather than the abuse itself. They may say things like “You’re too sensitive,” “You’re crazy,” or “I was just joking!”
When you’re talking with a narcissist & these things happen, then you can be certain they are attempting to shift the blame off of themselves. The best thing you can do is to redirect the conversation back to the original topic, as calmly as you can. Wait on the narcissist to finish whatever she is saying, then calmly say something, “Ok, but that isn’t what we were talking about. We will address that later. We’re discussing ____ at the moment.” You may have to do that a few times, but keep doing it. If that doesn’t work, try saying, “We’ll talk about this another time when you are ready to talk,” then leave or hang up the phone, & approach her another time in the very near future.
Unfortunately with narcissists, there is never an easy answer. Doing what I suggested may not work at all for you in the sense of being able to hash out the problem at hand. However, the good thing is it will let that narcissist know that you aren’t going to be fooled by the blame shifting nor will you be pushed around.
1 Timothy 5:3-8 “3 Give proper recognition to those widows who are really in need. 4 But if a widow has children or grandchildren, these should learn first of all to put their religion into practice by caring for their own family and so repaying their parents and grandparents, for this is pleasing to God. 5 The widow who is really in need and left all alone puts her hope in God and continues night and day to pray and to ask God for help. 6 But the widow who lives for pleasure is dead even while she lives. 7 Give the people these instructions, so that no one may be open to blame. 8 Anyone who does not provide for their relatives, and especially for their own household, has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.” (NIV)
Elderly narcissistic parents are often even more entitled than their younger counterparts. For their children, this can be an incredibly painful position to be in.
Many adult children of narcissistic parents feel they have no other option than to be their parents’ caregiver, even at the cost of their health & their own family. After all, we can’t forget Exodus 20:12 “Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you.” (NIV). Then there is 1 Timothy 5:8 which says, “Anyone who does not provide for their relatives, and especially for their own household, has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.” (KJV) Doesn’t this all mean you have to be hands on with your elderly parents, no matter what? NO!!
I do NOT believe that God wishes His children to take care of their narcissistic parents no matter the personal cost. That doesn’t sound like the God I know!
First, to honor your parent simply means to give them the respect they deserve as the people who created you. You acknowledge them as your parents. You speak to them civilly, not rudely or disrespectfully. Honoring them does NOT mean tolerating their abuse. It also doesn’t mean that you neglect your family to take care of your parents. If you opt to take care of your parents in a hands-on way, you can honor them by helping them as much as you feel able without wearing yourself out or neglecting your family.
Also, remember 1 Timothy 5:8 says that you must provide for them. You can provide for your parents in various ways, not necessarily being “hands on”. Arranging for help to come to your parents’ home is a great way to help them & provide for them. Researching local resources for whatever help they need is providing for them. Paying for things your parents need yet can’t afford but you can is providing for them.
As your parents become elderly & need more assistance than they once did, you need to prepare ahead of time as much as you can. Even if your parents are still relatively young, start to look towards the future now. You never know what can happen. Things can change in an instant, so you need to be prepared.
Start praying & asking God for wisdom & insight on what boundaries you will need to set when the time comes as well as strength to enforce those boundaries.
Read up on the topic to see what others do with their elderly narcissistic parents, & honestly ask yourself what you can & can’t do. There are plenty of informative caregiver websites out there.
Most libraries are a wealth of information. The library near me has a ton of pamphlets & booklets near the entrance on various services in the area, including information from the local Department of Aging. I found a booklet there for seniors’ resources. It includes information on cleaning services, in home health care, assisted living facilities, contact information from the Department of Aging, & much more. Your library may have a similar booklet- it’s worth checking into.
If you’re going to be involved in caring for your narcissistic parents, it’s best to learn as much as you can about what’s happening with their health. Narcissists love to exaggerate their illnesses, & you need to be aware of what the truth is & what they are making up. Read up about their conditions online or talk to their doctors without them around.
If something needs to be done to help you to help them, stress how this will help them. Leave out how it will benefit you entirely, & make it sound like it will help them only. In my own caregiving experiences, I’ve noticed that saying that something will help me falls on deaf ears. Saying that same thing will benefit the narcissistic parent however, gets the narcissist’s attention.
In fact, don’t discuss anything about you as much as possible. If an elderly narcissist knows you’re not feeling well or are tired, they will push you to do more & more as they can get away with it. Wearing you down gives them some sick pleasure.
When you set boundaries, do so as cheerfully as possible & with no explanations. As always, any information these people get can be turned into ammunition they will use to hurt you with.
It is possible to keep your sanity in tact while caring for a narcissist. Keep in mind everything you know about Narcissistic Personality Disorder, set & enforce boundaries, don’t neglect yourself or your own family for your parents & most of all, keep God first in your life. Depend on Him completely to help you do such things & show you what to do, when to do it & how to do it.
If you opt to keep your distance, then try not to feel guilty. If you know in your heart that you can’t be a more hands-on caregiver, there is no shame in that. God only asks people to do their best, nothing more. Sadly, some people are so incredibly toxic, there is just no way to interact with them on a daily basis. It happens, unfortunately. If your parent is that way, you have done nothing to feel guilty about by protecting yourself.
Many of us who grew up with narcissistic parents ended up with food issues or even full blown eating disorders. This usually isn’t because we were using some poor coping skills to deal with the abuse. It’s because many narcissists are obsessed with food, & they put their own issues onto their children
Some narcissists hoard food, not even wanting to share it with their own child. Some complain incessantly about what their child eats or doesn’t eat. Some expect & even demand their child like & dislike the same foods the parent likes & dislikes. When the child has a different opinion, the parent invalidates & criticizes the child. Some force their child to eat when they’re not hungry, & then complain because they did eat. Many also criticize their child’s weight extremely harshly, ridiculing the child for being too fat or too skinny, even when the child is a healthy weight. Some narcissistic parents even withhold food from their child as a punishment. Growing up in such madness definitely creates food issues for a child. How could it not?
I grew up hearing how fat I was ever since I can remember. Looking at childhood pictures though, I don’t see a fat child- I see a normal child. Well, now I do. When I was a child, I saw someone incredibly fat & disgusting. So much so, I went through anorexia at about age 10, then later bulimia in my teens. My mother also criticized what I ate & how my entire life. According to her, I either ate way too much or way too little & was wasting her money on food. She even made me eat when I didn’t want to & called me a hog if I ate the last of something, such as the last cookie in the package. And, she encouraged emotional eating. Sad? Have a snack. Happy? Celebrate by having a snack. Angry? Eat.. it’ll make you feel better. I also wasn’t even allowed in my mother’s kitchen growing up. I wasn’t even allowed to get myself something to eat or drink. Neither was my father. The kitchen was my mother’s private domain, & no one was allowed to enter unless they wanted to face her wrath.
I bet many of you can relate to some if not all of my story, can’t you?
I think the reason so many narcissists behave so crazily about food mostly boils down to narcissistic supply. Food is necessary for life. Eating is a way to take care of yourself. Narcissists never want their victims to do anything good for themselves since it might contribute to healthy self esteem- something they refuse to allow victims to have. Supply is gained if they can tear apart someone’s self esteem or prevent someone from gaining any boost to it. Plus, parents can control what their children eat, & control is a great way to provide a narcissist with supply.
Projection also can be why narcissistic parents behave this way with food. If your narcissistic mother has her own food issues, she won’t deal with them as a normal person would. Instead, she’ll try to put them on you so she can get upset about them while refusing to take any responsibility for them. This certainly happened with my mother. She was raised by her own narcissistic mother, & one of her coping skills her mother taught her as a child was to turn to food. She maintained that skill as an adult & judging by how she’s always been with me, is deeply bothered by it.
Personally, I’m still trying to sort out my own food issues since most of the time, I don’t want to eat, but at least it’s much better than it once was. It’s a long journey towards healing in this area. God has truly helped me a great deal with it though. He has helped me to understand that my mother did wrong in this area (among others) with me, & the things she said to me & accused me of were wrong. He’s also helped me to understand food better & reject the awful teaching I received about it growing up. He can do the same for you, Dear Reader. Turn to God. Ask Him to help you heal in this area & to teach you whatever it is you need to know. He loves you so much & will be more than happy to do so!